teriyaki steak with autumn coleslaw

Teriyaki sauce with autumn coleslaw? No, I don’t know what makes it an autumn coleslaw, save for the fact you’ll be falling over yourself to make it again if you’re a fan of crunchy veg. It’s not supposed to be swimming in dressing,

Right, here’s the deal! We are really struggling to find time to write blog entries at the moment as we’ve both got something big on at work and I’m busy getting our second book together for release in December, which, as you can imagine, takes some doing. But see I always feel bad if we’re not putting on new recipes so for the next couple of weeks or so, we’re going to be posting the recipes that we’ve get saved up and, where I can, I’ll try and put some guff on first if I have the time! All I ask in return is a simple favour: please share our blogs, recipes, ideas wherever you can!

Time does make fools of us all though, doesn’t it? I call Paul the minute-man, not because he’s a two-pump chump but rather whenever I ask him to do something he’ll reply ‘I’ll do it in a minute’. I could run into the room, choking on a Hi-Fi bar, clutching at my throat and he’d still merely look at me with absent-minded disdain and finish his tea. Bah. So, let’s get on with the recipe, and I promise we’ll be back properly in a couple of weeks!

Can I just point out one little thing? If you’re looking for an Actifry, the newest model is £79 on Amazon – which is by far and away the cheapest I’ve ever seen it, with the bigger model actually being the same price as the smaller one. Click here to have a look. It’s probably the one gadget we use the most and it’ll not get cheaper than this. Yeah, you can get a Taffle ActiLie from Aldi for cheaper but at this price, it’s worth paying that bit more for the decent version.

Also, bit unfortunate, yes, but we’ve also got another Musclefood deal sorted with…er, Musclefood – we’ve had a lot of people asking for a more varied box, so we’ve sorted one out for £40! Here it is:

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You can find more of our MF deals on one page by clicking here – we’ve got a deal for everyone. Right, no more advert stuff!

teriyaki steak and autumn coleslaw

to make teriyaki steak with autumn coleslaw you will need:

  • 2 decent steaks (we used the steaks in the box above)
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey (2.5 syns)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • bunch of coriander, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime

to make teriyaki steak with autumn coleslaw you should:

  • mix together the soy sauce, red wine vinegar and honey
  • lay the steaks out onto a plate and pour over the soy sauce marinade – turn the steaks over so they’re well coated
  • leave to marinade for fifteen minutes
  • meanwhile, make the coleslaw by mixing together the carrot, fennel, red onion, coriander and lime juice, and put into the fridge to chill
  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add a bit of spray oil and add the steaks, reserving the marinade – cook to your liking
  • when the steaks are cooked, remove from the pan and allowed to rest
  • pour the remaining marinade into the frying pan and cook until reduced and thickened to make the sauce – pour this over the steak
  • enjoy!

We did the chips in the picture in the Actifry – no oil, just worcestershire sauce and a crumbled oxo cube! Easy! Keeps it syn free, too.

More recipes? Yes:

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Cheers!

J

crunchy cheesy steak bites and perfect onion rings

Steak bites and onion rings? Good heavens I know. Because this is going to be a super quick entry I’m giving you two recipes at once. You can manage it. Just bite down and push out.

GOOD NEWS: Samsung have been and fixed the hob, hooray, meaning we can bring back proper food to the blog as opposed to food you have to eat with your fingers. Tonight’s recipe was going to be a delicious pork and potato hash but when I went to photograph it, it looked like the top of a burnt knee. I’ll figure out a way to make it work and stick it on next week.

BAD NEWS: there’s only one more day left on our Musclefood sale – 10% off. If you’re sitting on the fence, please don’t. You’re running out of time, you’ll give yourself piles and let’s be honest, a wooden fence can only take so much stress. We’ve never seen so many orders come from one deal so don’t miss out 10% off our already amazing value freezer box! It’s a delivered chilled box of wonder – with 24/26 big fat chicken breasts, 800g of extra lean beef chunks, 2kg of extra lean beef mince and lots and lots of bacon. It’s usually £50 – which is cheap when compared to what you’d pay in the shop – but we’ve knocked off 10% for ONE WEEK ONLY. This brings it down to £45 – the cheapest it has ever been. Remember you can choose the date of delivery and payment doesn’t come out until your chosen date, so you can order in advance. To order, just click this link, add to basket, add the code TCCFREEZER and choose standard delivery – £45! Easy! But this is for ONE WEEK ONLY.

GOOD NEWS: We haven’t given up on the gym just yet. You know what’s sad though? We tend to go at around 11pm and the gym is full of the type of folk who are too shy to exercise with the skinny-minnies and the ultra-fit. I don’t see why and it makes me feel a bit sad. Admittedly, the music volume has to be doubled to counter the sound of the treadmills being splintered under hefty foot. Come on fatties, don’t be shy. You’re still doing better than anyone else just by being there. 

BAD NEWS: I’ve picked up the most annoying verbal tic, and I blame it all on a work colleague, who uses the ‘eh’ sound like one might reasonably use a full-stop. She makes me laugh all day long so I can quite forgive her but after doing it back as a joke, it’s now fallen into my daily rotation and I find myself saying EH really loudly mid-sentence. My dad is an absolute bugger for this – Paul swears my dad once interrupted himself mid-sentence by asking himself eh – and it seems I’m destined to follow in his footsteps.

Emma and I are engaged in a fierce game of pranks – I poured a load of red glitter into the seat of her office chair, meaning every time she sat down she coated her arse in red shiny glitter. She responded by leaving me a telephone message that a Mr Kipling called with an urgent message and to call a number which turned out to be the Mr Kipling cake factory. No wonder the receptionist seemed a little cross when I insisted I had an urgent message from the boss. As revenge for that, I stole the ‘e’ from her keyboard, so she filled my man-bag (murse?) with almonds. I retaliated by filling all of her coat pockets with the tiny bits of paper from inside a hole-punch, so she stuck watermelon post-it notes all over my desk when I was away logging off.  I’m not sure what happens next but I’m a bit worried this is going to escalate into her torching my house for a laugh and me holding her children hostage. Still, makes the wheel of the working day spin that little bit faster, and like I said, she’s an absolute love.

Anyway, the recipe please, gentlemen.

onion rings and steak bites

to make crunchy cheesy steak bites you will need:

to make crunchy cheesy steak bites you should:

  • bring the steak to room temperature
  • meanwhile, turn up the oven to 180 degrees
  • spread the pumpkin seeds out onto a baking sheet or ovenproof dish, spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle over a pinch of paprika
  • bake in the oven for ten minutes and allow to cool, and then grind in a pestle and mortar or chop them up with a big knife
  • mix together the salt and pepper and spread out onto a chopping board
  • gently dab each side of the steak cubes into the spice mixture and set aside
  • heat a large pan over a high heat and chuck in some sprays of oil
  • throw in the steak cubes and cook on each side for no more than 30 seconds – if they don’t sizzle, yer pan isn’t hot enough
  • take out of the pan and onto a chopping board and gently balance a mozzarella cube on top
  • quickly grill under a high heat until the cheese has melted
  • sprinkle on the pumpkin dust and serve

Not a fan of pumpkin seeds? Don’t need to add them. We won’t tell. We found a really nice smoked mozzarella in Tesco which we used and oh god, I’ve bored myself to death.

You can use panko for the next recipe. You’ll find panko, a type of dried breadcrumb, in most Asian supermarkets or in that ‘funny bit’ of the supermarket you don’t go into. You should. It’s a world of wonder and taste, although I did feel a bit Gary Glitter as I pushed my bottle of ‘Healthy Boy Sauce’ through the self-checkout. Don’t have panko? Just use an ordinary bun whizzed up, you common harlot.

to make onion rings you will need:

  • one big fuck-off onion sliced into rings
  • lots of black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 60ml skimmed milk
  • 25g panko (5 syns)
  • 25g breadcrumbs (use half a HeB bread roll)

 

to make onion rings you should:

  • preheat the oven to 230 degrees and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper
  • you’ll need two shallow dishes for this bit – the first one should have your egg and milk and pepper mixed together, and in the second mix together the panko and breadcrumbs (you could use all breadcrumbs if you wanted, but panko is much tastier, and if you use all panko all the better)
  • dip each onion ring into the egg and then into the panko – drag it around a bit so it gets nicely coated
  • place on the baking tray and spray with olive oil spray
  • bake in the oven for twenty minutes but keep an eye on them – you’ll know when they’re ready!

If you want even more taster ideas or snack suggestions, click the link before!

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Cheers now. All the best.

J

Enjoy!

sizzling rainbow salad, roasted garlic chickpeas and weigh in

Yes yes, the sizzling rainbow salad will follow.

Long title for what will be a very quick post because damnit, my tea is ready, I have two recipes to post and a weigh-in to report. So let’s wheel out the old knob and see how we’ve done this week…

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Oh how cosmopolitan! Classy Paul sent me a text to say ‘Only lost half a pound, but got three pounds of last night’s tea pulling out of the depot as we speak’. It’s always a joy living in this house. We weighed in separately tonight as Paul had to dash home (as much as someone the approximate shape of Saturn can dash) and let the electrician in to fit an outside light in our back garden. See (barely), our local council has taken it upon themselves to tear down the old orange streetlights in our street and replace them with these AWFUL little white LED lamps, which, given how faint and pointless they are, must all be running off the same watch battery. It’s so dark I can look out of the window and see when next door’s TV goes off standby. Actually, that’s a fib, we don’t have immediate neighbours…

…which is lucky, because fuck me is the new light bright. He flicked it on and I half expected Paul to be standing at the fence shaking and bursting into flame like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Even the cat put a layer of Piz-Buin on before nipping out to shit in the flowerbed – that wasn’t steam coming off her turd, it was smoke. He advised me that we could adjust it if we wanted to but nah, I like to know that if I stumbled home in the dark and lost a contact lens amongst my tomatoes, I could find it in quite literally the blink of an eye. We’ve also had a couple of outdoor sockets fitted, which will just the thing for us to look at occasionally and think about pressure washing the paving stones. 

Anyway, the recipes. Let’s start with sizzling rainbow salad, which is really just a colourful salad but with all the goodness and virtue of eating greens taken out and replaced with juicy, delicious cow. If you want to keep it vegetarian that’s fine, but please ask someone to chop for you least your cockle-esque muscles give out. I’m kidding I’m kidding. Please don’t write to me, I won’t read it. I’ll be too busy wiping the cow juice off my chin and cackling wildly. Until I get CJD and Paul has to take me around the back of the house, my legs disco-dancing independently of each other, and push me into a burning pit with a tractor.

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to make sizzling rainbow salad, you’ll need:

  • any steak you like – fillet steak, frying steak, rib-eye steak, miss-steak, Mis-Teeq or Stakeford, I don’t care, as long as it mooed and had children (ouch)
  • any syn-free noodles
  • a cucumber, one that if it was a penis, you’d perhaps reach for a dab more Durex Play than you’re used to
  • a carrot, see above
  • a few radishes
  • if you can get them, a candy beetroot and a golden beetroot, if not, regular beetroot
  • two red chilli peppers
  • a lime
  • spring onions
  • crunchy lettuce of any sort you like
  • chickpeas from the below recipe

to make sizzling rainbow salad, you should:

  • cook your noodles
  • peel and slice the cucumber and carrots into thin ribbons using a potato peeler
  • very thinly slice the beetroot – I eat it raw, I like the crunch – and I use one of these mandolins for perfect uniform slices (plus it protects your fingers, you don’t want your piano career ruined by circumcised fingers)
  • do the same with the radishes
  • chop the spring onion and chillis
  • cook your steak however you like and slice it into thin strips – we just used bog-standard steak like this – remember you can add stuff like this on if you buy our freezer-filler-wonder-offer from Musclefood, just add whatever you want as extras into the basket – we cook our steak by getting a pan roaring hot, using worcestershire sauce and pepper instead of oil, quickly cooking it off and serving
  • assemble in a bowl – noodles, crunchy lettuce, sliced veg, steak, squirt a bit of lime juice over for taste
  • if you’re making the chickpeas below, scatter them on too for extra crunch
  • very healthy, I’m sure you will agree

OK, onwards. BEFORE WE START.

TWEAK

We explain what tweaking is right here. Our policy is that it’s better to eat something like this than it is to eat a tube of Pringles. Well no, it’s not better, but it’ll keep the scales happy. Hopefully. Up to you to decide what you want to do. To me, chickpeas are syn free, garlic is syn free, you don’t use enough sprays of the oil to be worth synning it, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to be told off for it. GO.

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • a bulb of garlic
  • two big tins of chickpeas
  • a few squirts of olive oil (which might add up to a syn if you’re lucky, plus I’d hope you’re not going to eat them all)

 chickpeas 

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • cut the garlic bulb right through the middle (horizontally left to right rather than straight down the middle) – don’t worry about peeling
  • sprinkle with a touch of salt
  • put in a low temperature oven for around half an hour, just to soften the garlic flesh, then scoop out (I just scrunch up the bulb with my hand)
  • rinse your chickpeas
  • put them into a bowl with a few squirts of oil, salt, pepper and the softened sticky flesh of the garlic
  • roll those chickpeas around each other – gently, you’re not panning for bloody gold – but enough to get them coated in some garlic, seasoning and oil
  • tip out onto a baking tray and bake in a medium oven for around 30-45 minutes, but do keep checking, they can catch quite quickly
  • eat as a snack or tumbled into salad. Tumbled?! Oh behave James.

Enjoy!

J

sizzlin’ steak

I’m going to warn you, I’m in a right old grump today. But what’s new! I write better when I’m angry anyway.

You have no idea how much it pains me to write sizzlin’ in the title instead of sizzling, but Paul threatened to withhold sex if I didn’t acquiesce, and so here we are. In a perfect world there would be no need for unnecessary shortenings of random words, but it’s not a perfect world, and I’m not a perfect person. So sizzlin’ it is. Sizzling puts me in mind of those awful pubs where they bring your food out and slide it out onto a scalding hot bit of stone so it ‘sizzles’ and you’re supposed to sit there rapturous whilst your food bubbles. Perhaps it’s because I’m a curmudgeonly-old-before-his-type fart but I don’t get it – I’ve seen stuff heating up before, I’ve used a pan in my lifetime. If they brought it to the table and heated the food via some Rube Goldberg machine that involved flamethrowers and magnetite, I’d perhaps crack a smile. Those types of pub are always full of the same type of people:

  1. those who can’t eat their Sunday dinner without the application of three separate condiments that have to be brought to the table by some harried waitress with a lot more consonants than vowels in her first name;
  2. access day visits from dads sharing wan smiles and thin conversation with the top of their iPhone-engrossed children; and
  3. the elderly, fussing and gumming their way through a special menu printed in Times New Roman Size 32 so everything looks like this:

“puree of turnip served with turkey paste and parsnip wisps”

OK, so I exaggerate, but still. 

It’s been an uneventful day. We had two things in mind – go to Costco to see if they had the giant bar of Dairy Milk that was 10kg, £160 and came with a tray of prepped insulin on the side, and to Dobbies – our local garden centre. It’s a terribly posh garden centre, you can tell because the person blocking the exit tries to sell us an ‘orangerie’ on the way out, rather than double-glazing. An orangerie! Just the thing – I was beginning to grow concerned that my lemon tree was becoming a mite chilled in the North Sea air. Actually, confession: we’ve already got an orangerie, but because I’m not a pretentious tagnut, I call it a greenhouse. He’s actually stopped asking us anyway, possibly because last time he did so I replied that ‘I couldn’t possibly, I’m Jewish‘ and rushed past aghast. I could almost hear his brain whirring trying to work it out, by which time we were away.

Costco, then. Costco on a Sunday. Four weeks before Christmas. On ‘sample’ day. On a list of fun activities, that sits just above peeling off my face with the edge of a corned beef tin and just below shitting out an armchair. Busy? We didn’t walk around, we just blended with a group of around 200 into one giant shell-suited mass and went as one, gliding down the aisles grabbings things as we went. I was gutted – there’s nothing I like more than taking my time, judging people who are buying 84 Andrex Quilted and wondering who the fuck decides on a Sunday that what they really need to buy is 24 jars of chilli peppers. Naturally, because it was sample day, every single aisle was capped by some poor dolt in a pinny handing out ‘samples’ and, as a consequence, 50 or so slack-jawed simpletons all jostling and pushing to try and get a paper cup with FOUR FUCKING HARIBO in them. I can’t abide queues at the best of times and wouldn’t have stopped if they were offering to tickle my balls and give me cold hard cash, but jesus, the lack of dignity people display over a ‘freebie’! I was tempted to spit my chewing gum on the floor and shout ‘FREE PRE-CHEWED MINTS’ to cause a stampede but the exit was far away and I didn’t have my running shoes on. 

You witness this ugliness on Black Friday and during the sales and I just can’t get my head around it. I can’t! You see them on the television, queueing up outside of Next so at 5am they can rush in and have the pick of all the shit that no person wanted during the only time of the year pretty much guaranteed to empty your stock room, so what’s left is the absolute dregs. Wahey! I’m sure Aunt Marjorie will be delighted with her jumper stained with the greasy fingers of the desperate and the nonsensical. There was a guy on Look North the other day who had been queueing outside of Currys all night in anticipation of the bargains galore he expected from Black Friday. He was the only one who turned up. When they interviewed him on the television you could see in his eyes that he regretted his decision, but clearly didn’t want to back down, and he was later shown staggering shamefaced out of the shop after two hours (TWO HOURS! The only way I’d spend two hours in Currys would be if I’d had a cardiac arrest in the TV section, and that’s pretty bloody likely given how high their prices are). What had he picked up? I couldn’t see everything, but there were at least four graphics cards, two blu-ray players and some speakers. Not good speakers, I add. It was as if he was the sole contestant in the world’s most depressing version of Fun House – one where Melanie and Martina had long since died and Pat Sharp didn’t have a haircut that looked like Stevie Wonder had done it as a favour. He claimed to have spent £4,500, and all I could say to Paul was ‘Yes, but what price dignity?’. Takes all sorts.

It took us almost 45 minutes in Costco to pick up a wheelbarrow of tea-bags, a mountain of coffee and a box of Rice Krispies so big that I feel like I’m in a shit version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids every time I look at it. It then took us almost an hour to get out of the ‘Metrocentre’ area, which was awash with red-faced families in oversized cars all trying to cram into the same lane. Luckily, we had the audiobook version of Carrie to finish in the car, so we were fairly content, though god knows what passer-bys must have thought to hear some American woman screaming about dirtypillows and menstrual blood coming from our car. I’d love to be telekinetic but I’d definitely end up being sent to Hell afterwards – people who so much as blocked my way for a moment in Marks and Spencers would be sent flying up into the air-conditioning fans and turned to jam, or all those Audis that insist on cutting in at the last second and blocking the box junction outside of where I park – they’d end up crumbled into a cube no smaller than the dice from a Travel Monopoly set. The world would be on fire before the end of the week, I almost guarantee it. I already spend roughly forty hours a week looking crazily at the back of someone’s head and willing their brain to start leaking out of their ears. Sigh.

Dobbies was an absolute no-no, too. Quite literally, we got there, and there was no parking and no hope of securing a spot, given the place was awash with those fucking awful white Range Rovers (oh look at me, I’m driving a car designed for mud, all-terrain and exciting driving, and I only ever use it to ferry little Quentissimo and Angelica-Foccacia to their organic flute lessons) (bitch) and other such ‘luxury’ cars. We drove around and around and around and around until I felt like Sandra Bullock in Gravity and we admitted defeat. Paul and I did get a colossal serving of schadenfreude though with the sight of a spotlessly white BMW being completely and utterly trapped on the muddy overflow parking field. The silly arse behind the wheel kept spinning his tyres, sinking him even further into the mud, whilst his granite-faced wife looked coldly at everyone who went past laughing. Hey, it’s not my fault your husband is a useless tosser who doesn’t know how to pull a car from mud. We did, along with everyone else, smirk in that very British way when he got out of the car and started shouting at it. KNOB POWER ACTIVATE. I like to think he went home and had a good hard look at his life.

Anyway, that’s enough bile. I feel like someone who has shouted the anger out, and now I’m ready to give you a recipe. So without a moment more of hesitation, I present to you sizzlin’ beef. Sigh. SIZZLING. IT’S FUCKING SIZZLING. SIZZLE SIZZLE CRASH BANG WALLOP IT’S THE PRINCESS.

sizzlin' steak

to make sizzlin’ steak, you’ll need:

to make sizzlin’ steak, you should:

  • in a small jug mix together the bicarbonate of soda with 125ml of water and mix until well dissolved
  • pour the water and soda over the chopped steak in a bowl and leave to tenderise for an hour (but no longer)
  • meanwhile in a small jug mix together the worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, passata, honey and 3 tbsp water and mix well. set aside.
  • drain the meat in a sieve and pat dry using a clean tea towel or kitchen roll. 
  • if you want it to sizzle at the end, place an empty iron griddle pan in the oven and heat to 250 degrees
  • heat a large saucepan over a high temperature with a little oil and add the meat – it will froth and look gross but that’s fine – spoon out the steak after about 2-3 minutes, wipe the inside of the pan and then put the meat back in until it’s browned all over
  • remove the meat from the pan and place onto a plate
  • put the pan back on the heat and add the onions – stir fry for a few minutes until softened and starting to turn golden
  • remove from the pan and place into a bowl
  • add the meat back into the pan and pour over the sauce
  • bring it to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes – it should go nice and sticky
  • remove the pan from the oven and place the onions around the outside, and then spoon the steak into the middle – it should sizzle! (if you’re skipping the sizzling part, you can serve it as normal)
  • serve, and enjoy!

We served ours with a tit of rice, as you can see. We’re classy bitches, see?

J

steak au poivre

No point in fibbing, we used neither a proper steak or a double cream based sauce for this, but well, we’re on Slimming World and something needs to counter the massive packet of Pinballs that somehow got eaten on the drive home from the cat and dog shelter today. We’ll come to the recipe a wee bit later but first, a couple of things.

Really, just a gentle reminder to all that we’re completely unofficial, and what we write is entirely our own opinion. I like to think we’re genuinely nice people and what we post is all in good humour, but please remember, this is ultimately a personal blog and we’re allowed to let our opinions slip through. Same goes for our Facebook group/page. We’ve experienced a bit of a ‘problem’ user who took great umbrage to me asking, perfectly innocently, where she got her serving platter from and that I thought it was pretty. She inexplicably took this as me suggesting she ate like a pig (which she didn’t, and I wasn’t) and then went onto one of the big facebook groups making out like there had been a whole campaign against her and I was planning on taking out an advert in The Times calling her a fatty-boom-boom. Maybe I exaggerate but, like crabs, exaggeration is catching. What did annoy me – and so little does, honestly – was her making out like I was a bully. I’ve never bullied anyone in my life – I’m too soft-hearted, despite all the puff and bluster. I’d be absolutely and utterly mortified to have caused genuine upset, but what I think happened was that she wildly misconstrued the original comment and then couldn’t quite calm down. An over-reaction against a slight that never happened – that’s the Internet for you. I did explain, over and over and over, but…ah well. If you’ve come to the page expecting Hitler in an XXL Cotton Traders t-shirt fatshaming women all over, you must be sorely disappointed. If you’re here wanting diet advice and a few laughs and pictures of cats, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Take a look over the last year’s worth of posts, pictures and recipes, and then decide if I’m a bully. 

No need to leave a comment re: the above!

We’re struggling more and more not to buy a dog. Personally, I think it would be a little mean given we’re out all day, but then, dog-sitters exist…every time we come away from the cat and dog shelter I almost have to drag Paul to the car weeping and wailing over some cute bundle of fur that he’s seen. It’s like Sophie’s Choice every fucking Sunday. We’d be absolutely excellent ‘parents’ but I don’t know. I mean, we’ve just had that lovely sofa delivered. I’d prefer another cat, but given our two alternate between tearing lumps out of one another and spending an hour or so licking each other’s arsehole in front of our TV, maybe it’s not the best time to introduce another. There’s a cat there called Malcolm with beautiful tiger stripes and big green eyes and I know, I just know, he’s going to end up being put into our car at some point. It’s funny, back in the day when we had three cats (before we gave one away to a lonely friend), when we introduced Cat 3, Cat 1’s reaction was to piss on everything we owned. She pissed on our skybox, she pissed on Paul’s slippers, she even climbed up onto the hob and pissed all over that. She even left us a few hot links in the shower for good measure. She seemed content enough but for ages our tea had a faint scent of ammonia about it. I just wish I was rich, then I’d give them all a home.

Finally, we went to B&M today which is always a mistake because I end up getting so wound up. Who out there is buying those bits of wood with messages like ‘MEMORIES LIVE FOREVER, DREAMS FADE’ and ‘BITCH OF THE KITCHEN’ on them? Because whoever you are, please stop it immediately. I swear I walked through an aisle so full of motivational slogans and ‘PRINCESS’ tags that I came out the other end with diabetes and an hour to live. Though, I did chuckle to note that the second ‘S’ from a big lump of shite with ‘Princess’ emblazoned on it had fallen to the floor, leaving it looking like a motivational plank for a tin of corned beef. To my “delight” they had put out all the Christmas decorations, meaning I got a good early look at all the tat I’m going to be driving past and tutting at. Again – tell me – who buys those awful ‘snow scenes’ with the tiny people whirring around on sledges? Who wants what looks like a lump of asbestos knocked out of a wall and painted by a lunatic sitting atop their mantle? But I think, really, the very worst thing I saw was a toilet seat cover with Santa’s cheery face on it. Because nothing says ‘IT’S CHRIIIIIIIISTMAS’ like having to look at Santa’s twinkling eyes whilst you’re touching cloth? I think there’s something deeply troubling about having to lift up Santa’s face to curl one out – it’s like you’re shitting on Christmas itself. Still, a bargain at £1.99.

That said, we didn’t come away completely empty-handed. We caved and bought a few bits of shite for our props cupboard – that’s the random stuff you’ll sometimes see in photos, such as the hot-dog wrappers and the popcorn stand. That’s the problem with running a food blog, your kitchen becomes awash with absolute nonsense items bought for one photo and consigned to the back of the cupboard. Remember the little machine I bought that turns eggs into neat squares? It’s fun, but it’s been stopping our little drawer under the oven from closing properly for about six months now. Ditto the popcorn machine. Ditto the lollipop moulds…and so on. OH MIDDLE CLASS PROBLEMS RIGHT?

steak au poivre

to make steak au poivre you’ll need:

  • 2 hache steaks – we used the two from Musclefood that come with our box – details here – but if you want to buy them on their own, they’re right here! They’re a decent, cheap alternative and according to the syns calculator, they come out as syn free. NICE. They’re like a really thick, tasty burger. Also, you can use any steak of course!
  • 75ml worcestershire sauce
  • 10-20 peppercorns
  • 75ml fat free fromage frais
  • ½ chicken stock cube

to make hasselback potatoes you’ll need:

  • 1kg of charlotte potatoes (or similar)
  • Filippo Berio spray oil (7 sprays is ½ syn)
  • 2 tbsp parmesan, grated (2 syns)

to make crispy kale you’ll need:

  • as much kale as you’d like
  • Filippo Berio spray oil (7 sprays is ½ syn)
  • pinch of five spice seasoning

 

to make steak au poivre you should:

  • pour the worcestershire sauce into a small saucepan
  • heat the saucepan over a medium high heat until it starts to boil and reduced by about half, leaving a thick syrup
  • remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes – this is very important so that the mixture doesn’t split – and don’t worry if it goes sticky, that’s fine
  • when cooled slightly, add the fromage frais and mix to combine, it should end up a caramel colour. use a silicon spatula to scrape the syrup up from the pan if you need to
  • crumble the stock into the mixture and stir
  • place the pan back on the hob on the lowest possible setting and keep stirring, keeping a careful eye on it to make sure it doesn’t split
  • next, add the peppercorns and stir – the more you use, the hotter it’ll be (we used all 20 and it was lovely)
  • meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat with a little oil
  • add the hache steaks to the pan and cook to your liking
  • serve, pouring the sauce over the steak

to make hasselback potatoes, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • place the potato into the bowl of a wooden spoon – this stops you from cutting all the way through
  • cut into the potato at a sharp angle until you hit the spoon edge
  • do this every 3mm or so and complete for each of the potatoes
  • place all of the potatoes onto a baking sheet and spray with the oil
  • sprinkle over some salt and the parmesan
  • bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes

to make the crispy kale you should:

 

  • spread the kale out onto a baking sheet
  • spray with only a couple of pumps of oil
  • sprinkle over some five spice
  • bake in the oven at 210°c for about 10 minutes

Phew!

J

cajun steak and cheese pasta

Our cat has betrayed me – normally he sleeps between the two of us if it’s a cold night but he’d gotten up early doors and gone out chasing mice. How the hell he manages to spend a night between the two of us I have no idea – we’re very much a ‘spooning’ couple, constantly intertwining our legs and arms and murmuring nonsense at each other. I actually woke up once with Paul having rolled on top of me, not in a ‘but it’s my birthday’ way but rather out of comfort, like I was an especially squashy lilo. Nevertheless, around 1am Bowser will be padding around our pillow and then crawls between us like a tiny potholer. How he survives I have no idea – the squashing I mentioned above must be bad enough, but the flatulence produced between the two of us vents out right where he sleeps. It must be like trying to sleep with your head stuck in one of those Dyson Airdryers you get in toilets, only one that blows out air that smells of turned corned-beef and death. I swear after a night of our easy chicken curry he’ll disappear under the duvet as a black and white tom and comes back a tortoiseshell who suffers night terrors.

 

Tonight’s recipe has the unfortunate problem of looking exactly like another recipe we did earlier in the week, but what can I say, we’ve missed carbs and we had some steak to use up. Isn’t that a first world problem right there?

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to make cajun steak and cheese pasta you will need:

500g penne pasta, 120g steak (sliced into bite size pieces) 1 onion (chopped), 1 green pepper (chopped), 1 clove of garlic, 300ml skimmed milk, 250g quark, 2 tsp Cajun seasoning, 120g extra mature cheddar (grated), 20g parmesan (grated), 50g chorizo (sliced), breadcrumbs (from half a wholemeal roll)

if you use the wholemeal roll and the cheese as your healthy extras (remember, this serves 4) this will be 3 syns per serving, 1.5 from the chorizo, and 1.5 from the milk.

to make cajun steak and cheese pasta you should: 

  • cook the pasta until al dente (like Al Murray, but less of a cock), drain and set aside
  • in a large frying pan or saucepan soften the onion and green pepper in a little oil over a medium heat for about ten minutes
  • add the Cajun seasoning and stir well
  • slowly pour in the milk and stir continuously
  • add the quark in small amounts and mix until smooth and creamy
  • in a separate frying pan quickly cook the steak and chorizo over a high heat for one minute
  • add the steak and chorizo into the cheese mixture
  • add the cheddar and parmesan to the mixture, remove from the heat and stir continuously until all the cheese has melted
  • add the pasta to the mixture and mix well
  • pour the mixture into a large casserole dish, top with the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for ten minutes just to make it sticky.

Now this is proper stick-to-your-ribs cooking and we loved it, but for goodness sake, it serves four. Keep some for your lunch the next day. This with the rice bake from the other day is more than making up our carb deficit and it tasted delicious!

Oh, if you need a casserole dish, get a bloody Le Creuset one. We’ve had ours over two years now and yes, it is very expensive, but we use it daily – as a frying pan, to cook in, to roast in, and it’s never stuck or failed us. They’re £160 on Amazon at the moment. Click here and treat yourself! Do you need something so pricey? No. But you kinda want one…

Cheers!

J